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Cotham signs with Yankees

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Former Mt. Juliet High pitcher Caleb Cotham signed with the New York Yankees Monday, the last day for Major League teams to sign players they drafted in June. The son of Dave and Melinda Cotham agreed to a $675,000 signing bonus, according to the Yankees.

Cotham was selected in the fifth round (165th overall). His bonus is $5,000 short of the highest in the fifth round this year (Jeff Malm, Tampa Bay Rays) and is more than four times MLB’s $149,400 recommendation for his draft slot.

A draft-eligible redshirt sophomore, Cotham boosted his stock by not allowing a run in 13 innings this summer with the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps.

After being bothered by a sore knee during the spring, he pitched at 91-94 mph with his fastball and flashed a plus slider on the Cape. A starter for most of the 2009 season at Vanderbilt, he had a team-high seven wins in addition to a 4.10 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 79 innings pitched while opponents hit only .222 off him.

In three seasons with the Commodores he was 14-11. "I am happy for Caleb and his family," said his high school coach Mark Purvis.

"He has put a lot of effort and time into being the best he can be, and it is paying off for him now. Caleb has a bright future, and hope to see him pitch in the big leagues soon. It is exciting for our program, and I am extremely proud of him."

Cotham was a four-year letterwinner at Mt. Juliet High and was a three-time all-district selection. He was the 9AAA tournament MVP as a senior and was voted district MVP along with all-region and all-state honors as a junior in 2005.

Cotham helped lead the Golden Bears to the sectional playoffs in 2006, district championships in 2005-06 and regionals in 2004.

He was a two-year captain and was the junior class president as well as a member of the National Honor Society.

Cotham becomes the second former MJHS standout to sign a professional contract during Purvis’ tenure as head coach. Pitcher Stephen Shao signed with the Colorado Rockies in 2007.

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